Tag Archives: Columbus

Curb Management in the Real World

By Robert Ferrin and Brandy Stanley, CAPP

Everyone hears a lot about curb management, congestion mitigation and data gathering, but sometimes finding solutions in action can be difficult. Join us for a free, online, IPMI Shoptalk June 2 to learn more about the real-life solutions two cities are testing to manage the curb.

In late 2019, the City of Columbus worked with partner curbFlow on a six-month pilot to reimagine how loading zones could be established, evaluated, and monitored by testing innovative strategies. The program is all part of a broader culture of innovation and testing born out of Columbus’ Smart City Challenge award and work program implementation.

The City of Las Vegas has launched a program aimed at helping TNCs operate in the downtown area.  The program consists of both on-street and off-street components:

  • A loading and unloading zone managed by 8-foot digital displays, including countdown timers by individual space and enforcement notifications.
  • An off-street staging area where TNC drivers can use a restroom, get access to Wi-Fi, and rest while waiting for their next ride.

Launching these two programs required a lot of collaboration with many different stakeholders, including elected officials, business and property owners, TNC regulatory agencies, Uber and Lyft, taxi companies, TNC drivers themselves, etc.  It also meant creating new and expanding existing partnerships with private companies to develop the hardware, software and support needed to put the solutions in action.

Join us online June 2 to learn more about these pilots, lessons learned, and how these two cities are moving from pilots to scalable solutions for curbside and loading zone management programs. Click here to register, and bring your questions.

Robert Ferrin is assistant director, parking services with the City of Columbus, Ohio.

Brandy Stanley, CAPP, is parking services manager with the City of Las Vegas, Nev.

Charging Ahead

electric car chargingBy Robert Ferrin

The City of Columbus, Ohio, was the recipient of a $10 million Paul G. Allen Family Foundation Grant that’s purpose was to lay a practical path to replacing carbon-based fuel consumption and inspire action to protect and sustain the environment through decarbonization and electrification. One of Columbus’ five priorities through this electrification program is to increase the number of charging stations in the region by nearly 1,000 ports. To meet this goal, the team has been focused on creating programs and incentivizing the installation of chargers at both the workplace and at home, where the majority of electric vehicle (EV) charging happens; in fact, as much as 85 percent of EV charging happens at home.

The city created a rebate program to expand the charging network for those living in apartments and condominiums. The Smart Columbus team also created a playbook for those implementing chargers in multi-dwelling units, including the cost of deployment, the rebate program, and the unique challenges faced by installing chargers at these types of locations. Our hope is these resources will not only be applicable to the Columbus region but also to cities and town nationally.

For more information on this case study and or other Smart Columbus related projects please click here.

Robert Ferrin, is the assistant director for parking services with the City of Columbus, Ohio. This post comes from the work of the Electrification Working Group of IPMI’s Research & Innovation Task Force.


Business people putting hands in together.By Robert Ferrin

The parking, mobility, and transportation industry is changing at a head-spinning rate and driving us to innovate and be responsive to our customers, new technology, and increasing demand for the curb and parking space. As the industry changes, expectations have increased for what a parking and mobility professional is and in what space we operate.

These expectations were never higher than for our team as we developed the Short North Parking Plan. Our team quickly realized that collaboration would be critically important to the success of the plan’s development and implementation. So what did collaboration look like?

First, it meant bringing together a wide array of internal and external stakeholders to develop a plan that was as comprehensive as possible for as many user groups as possible. It meant engaging with the community in public meetings, focus groups, online and in-person surveys, and via social media.

Second, collaboration meant the city couldn’t implement a dynamic plan alone. The city collaborated with the vendor community to put together a holistic parking plan that leveraged technology and used a data-driven approach to modify in the future. Combining virtual permitting, mobile payment, license plate recognition cameras, and a parking benefit district to leverage newfound revenues was a formula that worked for the Short North.

Most importantly, it took a collaborative approach between multiple entities and organizations to get it done and become work the city is using as a foundation for parking enhancements in other parts of Columbus.

Robert Ferrin is the assistant director for parking services with the City of Columbus, Ohio. He will be presenting on this topic at the 2020 IPMI Conference & Expo, May 31 – June 3, in San Antonio, Texas. For information and to register, click here.

Smart Cities and The Critical Role of Parking

The Parking Podcast logoBy Robert Ferrin

Columbus, Ohio, received a total of $50 million in the form of two grants as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation Smart Cities Challenge: $40 million from the USDOT and $10 million from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. One of the eight demonstration projects includes an Event Parking Management (EPM) system. The EPM system will bring together on and off-street parking availability, payment, and reservation off-street. This project will improve customer service and provide citizens the ability to thoughtfully plan their trip, thus helping to better manage congestion and improve access to Downtown Columbus and the bustling Short North Arts District.

I recently spoke with The Parking Podcast about it. Listen in to hear more, including thoughts on smart cities, starting a new parking program, and how parking plays a critical role at the intersection of transportation and land use in our cities.

Robert Ferrin is assistant director for parking services at the City of Columbus and a member of IPMI’s Board of Directors.

Are You Available?

By Robert Ferrin

No, we aren’t talking about a dating pickup line. In Columbus, Ohio–America’s Smart City–our team is piloting multiple parking availability technologies to improve the customer experience and reduce congestion.

In our dynamic Short North Arts District, the city selected three vendors to test sensing technology during a three-month period this fall and winter. During the pilot, city staff will evaluate each vendor on a number of key factors, including accuracy, ease of installation, integration capabilities with our mobile pay vendor, and data management system ease of use, among other data points. This  pilot is a great way for the city to test new technology in an effort to be innovative and responsive to our customers.

If successful, the city may choose one or more vendors to deploy additional sensors in high-demand parking areas and provide our customers with real-time parking availability information to positively influence their trip planning processes. We are encouraged by our leadership in Columbus to test and innovate and we encourage others to do so as well. Pilot projects such as this can only help raise awareness for our profession and move the industry forward.

Robert Ferrin is assistant director for parking services with the City of Columbus, Ohio.